9 thoughts on “¡Try these helpful characters!

  1. It’s a good idea, though I doubt it’s going to happen. You might get more people on board, though, if you render the adoption of new symbols moot: ?Why not use the standard marks at both ends of the sentence? !It works just as well!

    I’ve recently started studying Spanish, and I’ve learned that one reason for the Spanish method is that in that language, questions are often formed with no helper words or change in word order. ¿Él habla español? Sí, él habla español. So the initial question mark helps clue you in in the absence of English’s “Do…?” and “Does…?”, and its occasional inverted word order: “Have you any…?” Interestingly, the initial mark doesn’t have to come at the beginning of the sentence, just at the beginning of the grammatical phrase. “Yo te pregunto, ¿es ese verdad?” I guess that’s covered by the Wikipedia article that you linked to.

    Diacritical marks were the first keys I added to my Galaxie Deluxe XII. But then I got a Spanish typewriter, which is better, because the accents are better aligned with the letters and there’s no backspacing involved.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not a big fan of interrobangs—they’re cute, but the version you just used serves just as well!


      • The trouble with the interrobang character is that it looks as if the question mark and exclamation point have accidentally been smashed together. You’re right that “!?” or “?!” looks better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I worked for newspapers in Kingman and Phoenix many years back. A Spanish keyboard could have saved us from an embarrassing typo. I worked on an edition that printed stories both in English and Spanish. Usually, the English version was written first, then a Spanish translation prepared. In those pre-desktop publishing days, we had to insert arcane coding to create diacriticals, and as luck would have it, somebody omitted a tilde command in a headline, and the copy desk didn’t catch it. The result was that instead of “Lopez: Man of the Year” being printed in Spanish as “Lopez: Hombre del Año,” we wound up telling our readers that the honoree was “Lopez: Hombre del Ano,” which translates as “Lopez: Man of the Anus.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • The embarrassment potential is heightened when you realize that in Spanish, you’re not x “years old” — you “have x years.” So complementing someone on their beautiful toddler who “tiene dos anos” has an unfortunate medical implication.

        Liked by 1 person

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